Is Mitt Romney Being Honest About His Health Care Plan? When GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced that he would deliver a landmark speech on health care earlier this month, many expected â or perhaps hoped â that he would admit that the reform plan he implemented as governor of Massachusetts was a mistake. Instead, Romney doubled down. âA lot of pundits around the nation are saying that I should just stand up and say that it was a mistake. . . But thereâs only one problem with that: I wouldnât be honest. I, in fact, did what I believe was right for the people of my state,â he said. Romney also tried to insist that Massachusettsâ plan was somehow better than President Obamaâs federal health care law. âOur plan was a state solution to a state problem. [Obama's] is a power grab by the federal government to put in place a one-size-fits-all solution across the nation,â he said. Romney may have declared himself honest â but the facts speak otherwise. Obamacare is virtually the same as the failing Bay State plan. And though he may not want to admit it, Romney has supported the key, âpower-grabbingâ features of the federal health reform law for more than a decade. By nearly all metrics, Romneycare is failing. Health costs in Massachusetts last year rose to 35% of the state budget, up from 22% in 2000. And thatâs with well over a billion dollars in federal assistance â or more than $3,000 for every state resident â to help implement the plan. While the plan has insured about 4% more of the stateâs residents, most of the newly insured are in heavily subsidized insurance plans. Reimbursement rates for doctors are so low that doctors are refusing to take on the influx of new patients for fear of losing money. Over half of the stateâs primary care practices are closed to new patients, according to a new report by the Massachusetts Medical Society. The average wait time for an appointment with an internist in Massachusetts is now 48 days. To see an obstetrician/gynecologist, Bay Staters must be prepared to wait 41 days. And for gastroenterologists, itâs a 43-day queue. The stateâs insurers are posting hundreds of millions in losses even as current Governor Deval Patrick has tried to fine and otherwise bully insurers into accepting price controls. Massachusetts State Senate President Therese Murray has even proposed changing the way that doctors are paid and moving to a system where they receive a flat fee for each patient. Thanks to Romneycare, Massachusetts is headed toward the kind of single-payer system Romney claims to deplore. The vehicle for Romneycareâs single-payer path is its government-run exchange â the âCommonwealth Connector.â State officials have extended coverage to more residents primarily through Medicaid, the joint federal-state health plan for low-income folks. Of the 176,766 insured through the Connector, more than 152,000 are on subsidized plans, most paying nothing. Obamacare intends to expand coverage in the exact same way â through government-run exchanges, the massive growth of Medicaid, and federal subsidies to those families earning between 134 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. When asked how the two laws compare, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was a health adviser to both Romney and President Obama, said, âBasically, itâs the same thing.â And in a recent speech in Boston, President Obama âthankedâ Romney for providing a model for his federal health reform effort. âWith a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts we said that healthcare should no longer be a privilege in this country,â the president declared at a Democratic fundraiser. It also strains credibility for Romney to claim that he was only advocating âa state solution to a state problem.â Massachusetts pioneered the highly controversial individual insurance mandate â which requires individuals to get health insurance or pay a fine â that is at the center of Obamacare and is presently the target of constitutional challenges. Further, Romney supported the individual mandate not just at the state level â but at the federal level, too. In 1994, Romney told The New Republic he supported a legislative compromise on health care by Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) that would have included a national mandate. In 2007, Romney hedged a bit on the issue but still told the Washington Post he believed in the idea and that if states imposed mandates, âWeâll end up with a nation thatâs taken a mandate approach.â Romney may continue to believe he did what was right for his stateâs health care. But thereâs one problem with that â any objective look at the facts would conclude thatâs just not an honest assessment. Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is The Truth About Obamacare.